The Call of the Child
Yesterday Nellie left this glorious Adirondack lake with Fiona, our 20-month-old granddaughter, after a visit with Grammie and Papa. I confess there was a bit of an exhale, a relieved catching of breath after a week’s emotional saturation with that small, mighty presence.
This morning, though, I looked down the hall from my bedroom where Fiona’s pack-’n-play used to be, where the coos and burbles of her small, waking voice summoned me springing from bed in the mornings or after naptime (hers and mine), where I was dependably greeted by that charming smile of intimate familiarity.
The call of the child intoxicates. It must be biologically programmed. I long for her presence, that dear face, the dancing, drunken gait, the soft arms wrapped around my neck, the rapt face listening to Winnie the Pooh’s theme song, “again” and “again!” I want to hear her voice saying “Grammie” as she reaches up for a lift into my arms. I miss her clear commands, her confident expectation that she will be heard and the world will respond – “sit”“beach” “nake” “backpack” “watch” “more” “moose.” How thrilled we are to comply.
60, however, is not the ideal age for that degree of sustained attention. Papa and I are happy to be sedately ensconced now with fellow 60+ year-olds, reading, playing Whist, disappearing occasionally into our own minds.
But oh, that world of wonders! The discovery of raspberries on the bush, ducks flushed from the grass, boat rides, splash bubbles on the water, sand clouds created by underwater feet. Hefting the lithe weight of young bodies, we see the world anew through a child’s eyes, feel the Earth under our toes as we haven’t felt it in years. We hear the voice of burgeoning life in the call of the child, and run, spellbound, to bear witness.
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Robin Clifford Wood is an award-winning author, poet, and writing teacher. She lives in central Maine with her husband, loves to be outdoors, and enjoys ever-expanding horizons through her children, grandchildren, and granddogs.